The 4K home video releases that have been churning out over lately are a mixed bag. There are some that I’ve upgraded, spent the extra money and didn’t see a difference. Then, there’s the gorgeous Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children that was probably the most stimulating visual home video experience. This DC universe has also been a bit of a letdown as now I simply can now just see more of the grain effect used in many of Zach Snyder’s films. Luckily, that trend stops here with the most welcome superhero surprise in Patty Jenkins’ WONDER WOMAN.
After her cinematic debut in Snyder’s Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, Diana/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) returns to give us the origin story that’s been long overdue. For those new to her story, Diana belongs to an Amazonian race of warrior women trained to protect humankind from the God of war himself, Ares. They live on the island of Themyscira, hidden from the rest of the world until the American pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crashes his plane onto their beach. Diana saves him and quickly learns of the currently happening World War I and believes that Ares is behind it all. She leaves Themyscira with Steve and learns to adapt to the ways of the outside world. It’s there that she learns about gender inequality, war politics, and human ethics.
While this is indeed a superhero action movie, the power pairing of Gadot and Jenkins help elevate WONDER WOMAN into a more character driven narrative. The fish out of water take on the traditional summer blockbuster adds a humorous tone to an otherwise dark cinematic universe. While Marvel always promises a fun popcorn ride, DC has opted for a more grim “what kind of superhero does this world need” vibe. Well, apparently Wonder Woman is that hero. Her need to always do the right thing makes her endearing and even heartbreaking when SPOILER ALERT she learns that Ares isn’t the cause of evil, but people are just awful in general. Wars aren’t created by Gods, but our own greedy agendas.
The overall reaction to WONDER WOMAN is nauseating due to the fact that Hollywood is once again shocked that a female driven movie can make money and be a critical darling. What works here too is a solid story that feels fresh for those of us unfamiliar with comic books. Luckily, Jenkins takes advantage of this being Diana’s first solo movie and focuses on her story alone instead of trying to set up sequels and spinoffs.
The home video release comes with a handful of special features that should appease fans. As mentioned before, the 4K disc is something to wonder about. All the Themyscira scenes really pop with vibrant colors along with some of the slow motion shots that accompany action sequences. Diana’s theme still gives me chills as the Dolby Atmos brings some next level sound experience. While I tend to avoid deleted scenes, WONDER WOMAN actually has an epilogue featuring the movie’s funniest character Etta and this is not to be missed. If you loved her as much as I did, then you won’t regret checking this out especially for a special Easter egg for DC fans at the end. There are multiple featurettes focusing different aspects of the making of the movie, but I really dug “Crafting the Wonder” which helps create a sense of what it was like on set. The blooper reel only adds to the so adorable it makes me sick chemistry the cast and crew shared behind the scenes.
Overall, WONDER WOMAN isn’t just one of the best superhero movies out there, it’s definitely one of the best movies of the year. With a message still relevant and characters we fall for, it’s hard not to love Diana’s first headlining gig.